The Krupp Trial (or officially, The United States of America vs. Alfried Krupp, et al.)
The Krupp Trial (or officially, The United States of America vs.
Alfried Krupp, et al.) was the tenth of twelve trials for war crimes that U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone at Nuremberg, Germany after the end of World War II.
These twelve trials were all held before U.S. military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice. The twelve U.S. trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials" or, more formally, as the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT). The Krupp Trial was the third of three trials of German industrialists; the other two were the Flick Trial and the IG Farben Trial.
In the Krupp Trial, twelve former directors of the Krupp Group were accused of having enabled the armament of the German military forces and thus having actively participated in the Nazis' preparations for an aggressive war, and also for having used slave laborers in their companies. The main defendant was Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, CEO of the Krupp Holding since 1943 and son of Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach who had been a defendant in the main Trial of the Major War Criminals before the IMT (where he was considered medically unfit for trial).
The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal III-A, were Hu C. Anderson (presiding judge), president of the court of appeals of Tennessee, Edward J. Daly from Connecticut, and William J. Wilkins from Seattle, Washington. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor; the Chief Trial Counsel was H. Russell Thayer, and Benjamin B. Ferencz participated as a Special Counsel. The indictment was presented on November 17, 1947; the trial lasted from December 8, 1947 until July 31, 1948. One defendant (Pfirsch) was acquitted, the others received prison sentences between three and twelve years, and the main defendant Alfried Krupp was ordered to sell all his possessions.
The main defendant Alfried Krupp always denied any guilt. In 1947, he stated:
"Die Wirtschaft brauchte eine ruhige oder aufwärts steigende Entwicklung. Infolge des Kampfes zwischen den vielen deutschen Parteien und der Unordnung gab es keine Möglichkeit für aufbauende Tätigkeit. ... Wir hatten den Eindruck, daß Hitler uns solch eine gesunde Entwicklung bescheren würde. Tatsächlich hat er das getan. ... Wir Kruppianer haben uns nie viel um Ideen gekümmert. Wir wollten nur ein System, das gut funktionierte und das uns eine Gelegenheit gab, ungestört zu arbeiten. Politik ist nicht unsere Sache." —Alfried Krupp, in Golo Mann's manuscript first published in (Friz 1988).
"The economy needed a steady or growing development. Because of the rivalries between the many political parties in Germany and the general disorder there was no opportunity for prosperity. ... We thought that Hitler would give us such a healthy environment. Indeed he did do that. ... We Krupps never cared much about [political] ideas. We only wanted a system that worked well and allowed us to work unhindered. Politics is not our business."
Indeed the Krupp holding did flourish under the Nazi regime. According to conservative estimates, the Krupp enterprises used nearly 100,000 persons in the forced labor programme, about 23,000 (23%) of these were prisoners of war.
The indictment charged the defendants with committing the following crimes: crimes against peace by participating in the planning and waging of wars of aggression and wars in violation of international treaties; war crimes and crimes against humanity by participating in the plunder and spoliation of public and private property, devastation, and exploitation against countries under German occupation, causing the suffering of millions; war crimes and crimes against humanity by participating in the murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture, and use for slave labor of civilians who came under German control, German nationals, and prisoners of war; and participating in a common plan or conspiracy to commit crimes against peace.